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GO HERE INSTEAD | 7 of the best holiday homes to visit with family and friends post-lockdown

By Rebecca Miles – 30th April 2020

Chances are, by the time we emerge from lockdown and are allowed to travel freely around the country again, we’ll be itching to spend some time with our extended families and for our kids to see their grandparents, aunties and uncles. Forget cosy getaways with our immediate loved ones, we want rowdy reunions with as many friends and family as possible. 

Fortunately, there are some excellent properties around the UK that encourage just that kind of gathering, and they’re in some of the most beautiful parts of the country too. So just as soon as we’re allowed to, let’s jump in the car, follow government advice to stay safe, and get reunited and reacquainted with our nearest and dearest. 

NB The various owners and operators of these properties have advised us that bookings will re-open for them just as soon as the government advises it is safe to travel again 

Live the high life at this fabulous Art Deco, old-school Hollywood-inspired villa. With views out to sea from its two south-facing terraces and enough space for up to 12 to sleep in considerable comfort (many of the bedrooms open on to the terraces), Portland House is a proper step back in time to a more glamorous era. 

Elegantly sprawling among a huge garden on a slope overlooking Portland harbour, the villa is full of period pieces and original 1930s features, and many of the bedrooms open on to those generous terraces. From the moment you enter via the palm-fringed drive, the tone is set for decadence and good times. 

The centre of Weymouth is a brief walk away, and the Jurassic Coast, with Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, are close to drive to. 

Sleeps up to 12 in seven bedrooms, from £1,559 for three nights. More info here

Ascog House is just the place for a dramatic change of scene. In large grounds on the Isle of Bute, off the west coast of Scotland, Ascog House is a 17th-century Laird’s house with a history that traces back to Robert the Bruce. 

Sleeping eight in four elegant bedrooms – one of which, with a bathroom, is in Tom’s Tower, 20ft from the main house – guests often spot deer at the far end of the garden while having breakfast at the kitchen table, and can retrace the steps of more than two centuries on the house’s large turnpike staircase. 

A short stroll from a beach on the sheltered east coast of Bute, where seals are often seen, Ascog House is less than 10 minutes by car from Rothesay, the ‘capital’ of this mild and charming island. Bought by the Landmark Trust in 1989 and eventually restored and reopened in 1993, while the kitchen and bathrooms are as modern as can be, don’t expect a TV or Wi-Fi. 

Sleeps up to eight in four bedrooms, from £545 for four nights. More info here

As pretty as a beach hut, but bigger, better and way more luxurious, Shalmar Hollow is the very definition of cool, calm and breezy. Set in rolling hills and overlooking Porthilly Cove and the Camel Estuary, this house oozes summertime vibes. 

With eight bedrooms split between three family suites, it sleeps up to seven adults and five kids – the double bunk room makes the perfect den while the master suite is vast. There’s plenty of space to relax among the nautical minimalist interior – there’s a large kitchen and dining area, a comfy lounge on the mezzanine, plus a play room and a separate sitting room with log burner. 

Outside are three terraces, a firepit and a heated pool and it’s a short walk to Rock, from where there’s a ferry across to bustling Padstow.    

Sleeps up to 12 in eight bedrooms, from £2,500 for seven nights (short breaks only available in low season). More info here 

Among the rolling fells of the Westmoreland Dales, the most recent addition to the Yorkshire Dales in 2016, lies Crake Trees Manor, a magnificent barn conversion that sleeps up to 16 people. With underfloor heating, smart bathrooms and the most convivial of kitchens, every comfort is taken care of, and the courtyard, with a stream running through it and a wood-fired hot tub, tops things off perfectly. 

The farm’s owners, the Tuers, are in the process of rewilding part of their land and there’s a wonderful air of informal relaxation about the place. The barn’s surroundings are criss-crossed with footpaths, cycle paths and bridleways, so bring bikes, horses and walking boots and get exploring, or hop in the car to be in the Lake District in half an hour. 

Sleeps up to 16 in seven bedrooms, from £1,850 for three nights. Dogs and horses welcome at extra cost. More info here

Translated as the hovering house, Ty Hedfan teters over the river Ysgir in south Wales. A modern glass, stone and wood design from award-winning architects Featherstone Young, the large living room floats above the babbling water, and there are two riverside terraces to relax on. 

Built as a family home but now available as a holiday let, Ty Hedfan sleeps up to six in four bedrooms. There’s an open-plan kitchen and dining room with floor to ceiling windows, a playroom with a secret snug, and that dramatic living room suspended high in the trees with a floating fireplace and a south-facing terrace.

Epic mountain biking and hill walking are on the doorstep on Mynydd Epynt and in the Brecon Beacons, and the charming Hay on Wye is half an hour away. 

Sleeps up to six in four bedrooms, from £900 for three nights. More info here

Smart and contemporary, Goldcrest is a beautiful upside-down barn conversion with design and decoration that wouldn’t look out of place in a boutique hotel. The first floor is home to the open-plan living room, dining area and kitchen, and benefits from dreamy views through the glass wall of the surrounding Peak District, while on the ground floor are four en suite bedrooms sleeping up to eight adults, with additional beds for up to four kids. Also on the first floor are a games room and a snug, two perfect places for older kids to assert their independence and enjoy some freedom. 

Goldcrest has a large grassy garden and BBQ area surrounded by rolling fields, and is a two-minute walk from The Flying Childers, winner of ‘Unspoilt pub of the year 2019’. Everything from gentle ambles to bracing hikes is possible from the village of Stanton in Peak, and it’s a 10-minute drive to the pretty market town of Bakewell and to the grandiose Chatsworth House. 

What we really like about this place is the extensive list of what is (and isn’t) supplied in the kitchen and bathrooms, so you know exactly what to pack. 

Sleeps up to 12 in four bedrooms (eight adults and four children), from £1,500 for three nights. More info here

Bursting with stylish and chic interiors, Bell Lodge is the perfect spot to reconnect with loved ones. Take your pick from soaking in the hot tub, catching up around the barbeque, or letting off some steam on the trampoline. The large sociable kitchen becomes the inevitable focal point for pre-dinner drinks, but it’s also worth branching out into the blue room for cosy catch ups or going glam in the dining room. 

Sleeping 12 in seven calming and light bedrooms, there’s plenty of space for everyone. Bell Lodge has the ideal mix of large communal space and snug spots, while outside there’s a sunny and south-facing 1.3 acres of garden to roam in. 

Practically on the doorstep is West Wittering beach, and close by is the beautiful ancient city of Chicester and the charming Chichester Harbour AONB, while the Goodwood Estate is further down the road. 

Sleeps up to 12 in seven bedrooms, from £2,450 for three nights. More info here

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